What is your name and your current occupation? My name is Justin Putney. I’m a Creative Technology Manager at Pearson and co-founder of Ajar Productions. I started as an animator, and gradually learned more and more programming in Flash. Then I started automating tasks in Flash, and I now spend much of my time building tools for animators and designers.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? In college, I had part-time jobs painting houses and doing data entry at a hospital. After college, I started animating in my free time and was lucky enough to break into graphic design pretty quickly as a day job (which overlapped with animation fairly well).
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? I really enjoyed building Facinator for Titmouse. Facinator allows Titmouse artists to rotate 2-D character heads as if they were 3-D and updates them on the stage. I also had a chance to build a production tool for The Venture Bros. (also with Titmouse), which was especially awesome because my wife and I have been fans of the show for years. It’s really neat to see what Titmouse is doing with those tools. I also love seeing what people have animated using SmartMouth, our automatic lipsyncing tool, as well as other extensions that I’ve developed.
How did you become interested in animation? I drew constantly when I was younger. I finished college with a really broad Liberal Arts degree and didn’t really know what to do with myself. My wife suggested that Continue…
My name’s Jeff Liu and I’m an animator at JibJab Media Inc.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? I actually started pursuing animation in high school so I haven’t had many jobs before I got into it. I used to teach private Karate lessons for younger kids at the dojo I went to haha.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? I really enjoyed working on the opening for the 2011 CalArts Producers’ Show. I came up with the idea to have everyone (who was interested) animate something coming out of a box. We then put everyone’s animation together and it turned out to be really cool! It was also a cool representation of the wide range of styles among the students.
How did you become interested in animation?
I remember seeing Flash at my friend’s house one time when I was in middle school. I thought Continue…
What is your name and your current occupation?
I’m Art Grootfontein, and I’m a freelance animation artist, designer and illustrator.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I would love to say that I was a submarine cook for the British army, or a pet taxi driver in Singapore, but I’m afraid I didn’t work on anything weird before I start my art carreer…
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I think I’m usually happy only with the very latest things I did… recently, I directed a TV spot for Yoplaitwhich I’m really proud of. This spot had been aired during the 2013 Emmy Awards night. I had the chance to be in charge of the major part of the work (storyboard, design, animation) so it was pretty fun. And these days I’m working on something completely different : an fun eCard for JibJab, and I’m really enjoying working on it too.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Paris, France. I studied at the National School of Art & Design in Paris. There I learned graphic design and illustration.
I discovered later that animation was my true passion. I think I had a brain wave when I saw “Gruesomestein’s Monsters” from Mark Ackland and Riccardo Durante. I understood then I’d have to work on animation ! So I trained myself watching hours of TV animated shorts and series, frame by frame, in order to understand how all this magic was done ! Then I started doing stuff just for me, and when I thought I was ready, I started entering some contests. I had the chance to win a couple of ones, like this bumper for a company named myToons, who disappear a few years later (its aim was to be the “youTube” for animation… fail !)I also did an animated greeting card every year, sending it to everyone in the animation world to get my foot in the door! Gradually, people saw my work, and so I started working on “real” stuff !
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
First I eat some chocolate. I sit on my chair and check my mails, hoping I wouldn’t get too much retakes on the animation I sent the day before. Then I eat some chocolate, and I work on all the retakes I received by email. When I realize it’s the end of the day, I try to wash myself as fast as I can and I eat some chocolate. That’s it ! (Kids : don’t try this at home, it does’nt work so well)
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love the beginning of a project, when everything is still possible. It’s the part where I feel I’m completely free to do what I want (even if i’m obviously not !) I don’t feel any stress at this time and I’m the more creative.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
When Adobe Flash crashes !
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
I work with Photoshop, Illustrator… and Adobe Flash. As I started recently to work on animation, I can’t say that things really changed for me regarding technology. I never learned animation “the old way” with hole punch paper and peg bar…
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Finding paid gigs and new clients is probably the hardest part of the job in my opinion.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’m afraid I don’t quite understand the question. But I love brushes and travelling !
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
One day, there was no chocolate at the store.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I would love to have time to work on something I really care about, a series concept about a skate team, but I don’t have much to say since I did not do much right now…
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Animation used to be my hobby ! And in a way, it still is.
But, I have to admit, I have a kind of everyday habit, but I’m not comfortable talking about it. The only thing I could say is that it has something to do with cocoa.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
“Hey guys ! I AM an artist trying to break into the business ! So please wait a few years more so I can find my place. Cheers !”
What is your name and your current occupation? My name is Ashlyn Anstee, and I’m a story artist at JibJab Media in Venice, California!
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? A few memorable summers, I worked at the Lost Kids center at an amusement park in Vancouver, BC. Basically, we would be on the lookout for kids that parents had lost (usually involving a lot of crying parents), or taking care of kids who wanted to find their parents. The latter were the tough ones, because usually they’d be with us for a while, because the parents wouldn’t want to come find them. Once, we had a kid with us for four hours, and he bit someone. We finally found his parents, but then an hour later, his identical twin brother walked into our center. We flipped out.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? I’ve done a lot of work for JibJab’s new StoryBots project- lots of fun videos, and most particularly, a line of books for the iPad. I’ve had the chance to illustrate and write a few books, and it’s been amazing. I’ve grown in leaps and bounds- there are so many strong artists here. It’s fun to be a part of a new project too. It’s like a big blue sky and we can create what’s in it.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business? I’m from Vancouver, BC, Canada, and of course, went to school at Sheridan College just outside of Toronto. I’ve actually always just loved stories. I read a lot as a kid, and wanted to Continue…
My name’s Noam Sussman and I’m currently working as a freelance character designer, illustrator and animator. I make animated films in my free time!
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation? I used to massage old ladies’ feet for money. But not actually… I havent had any super crazy weird jobs, I haven’t had to sell my body yet luckily. But I worked at an animation day camp teaching Flash animation to kids, and I worked at a theme park doing caricatures.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? I animated a birthday card for JibJab that was a lot of fun, as well as this Christmas card for Guru studio. Oh and a pilot for Tinman Creative which was also really fun to do. I’ve also been doing illustrations for Stride gum packages.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I live in Thornhill, a suburb of Toronto. And I went to Sheridan College to study animation, and I met a lot of animation people at this end-of-the-year industry day event the school put together in 4th year, so Continue…